Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maxime is born

Just in case there are still people checking this after months of absence, our gorgeous boy, Maxime was born on 2nd January at 3.35am after a mammoth 35-hour labour. He weighed 3.4kg and measured 51cm.

Here ends my blog, I just don't feel like doing it anymore.
Love to you all xxx

Friday, September 04, 2009

Oh mamma!

So I have decided it is time to stop hiding and talk about my pregnancy online. Yes, I'm with child, have been for some time now, but for some reason I have not wanted to share this with the online world. At first it was for fear of something going wrong, as is a risk before 3 months, but now that I'm in my 22nd week and everything is going smoothly, there seems to be no reason to keep it in the dark.

The first three months were peppered with nausea and trying to keep the information under wraps. It was so hard for me, and I have to admit that it slipped out during a conversation or two with doctors at work.

The first scan went well and while I didn't understand all the medical elements in French, I noted the words "normal" and "absence d'anomalies" and they reassured us that things were progressing nicely.

I'm really enjoying the pregnancy now, I'm well into maternity clothes, the bump is obvious to people and I don't just look fatter, and best of all, the nausea has subsided. For some strange reason I still can't stomach lettuce, but everything else is fine. I'm hoping it'll keep going like that, but I know from the advice of others that by the middle of the 7th month I'm going to be more like a beached whale than a woman with a nice rounded little bump.

So today is the moment of truth, we find out if we're going to be dealing with a franglais or a fraglaise. I don't know what to hope for, I know how to talk to little girls, but boys later I think are easier to deal with. We'll see...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


France in May is a wonderful festival of long weekends, less work and better weather. This year the month has been nothing less. No less than four of the five weekends included in the month this year have been long weekends of some kind, whether it has been the Friday, the Monday or the Thursday, offering that elusive chance to take a "pont" or a "bridge" and take four days off for the price of one.

This year I tried to go one better and took the Wednesday as well as the Thurs and Fri; I suppose my bridge was closer to the Manhattan bridge rather than the Pont Neuf. I didn't go anywhere in particular for the whole time, but I did spend a really fun afternoon at Roland Garros, a few days before the beginning of the official competition.

In blazing sunlight my friend M and I took seats at three different tennis matches to watch various upcoming stars battle it out for a chance to compete in the world-famous French Open. The competition proper hadn't begun yet, these players were just trying to get into the first round. Despite the scope of my tennis knowledge being limited to very basic scoring and virtually no knowledge of current players, I have to say that the standard was amazing.

This weekend G and I are off to Istanbul for a spot of mosque-visiting, Bosphorus-sailing and no doubt dodgy kebab-eating. More news soon...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's All Relative

I'm stretched out listening to a wonderful selection of Sondheim on fantastic new Spotify, and musing over the last weekend, life and the various choices we make.

My aunt, uncle and parents came to visit this weekend; they have just left, and we had a really lovely time. I think it took some pressure off, having my aunt and uncle there as well, I didn't feel obliged to spend every single minute with my parents and I knew they were having a good time. Everything was a discovery for my aunt and uncle; they had been to Paris over 20 years ago on an organised tour and things were a lot different then.

Seeing my life through their eyes made me realise that first of all I'm so very lucky to live in such a beautiful city. Second, that even though I see going down to the market and getting choucroûte and a bit of nice bread for Sunday lunch as a bit of a chore, they see it as a fascinating adventure because it is in Paris, and everything is new and different.

I have to admit to eyeing Lola's non-stop world with a pair of green eyes from time to time, knowing that she is often out in the evenings with her scores of friends, enjoying 30°C heat most of the year, and being in such an exotic environment, but I rarely see my own life as particularly exciting.

Seeing my daily routine in the eyes of other people makes me realise that yes, Paris IS fascinating, it is big and it is jam-packed full of history and monuments. Crossing the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville is a route from A to B for me, but with my family it was a discovery of intricate architecture, amazing lighting and a busier public space than they had seen for months.

The dinner we enjoyed at Les Ombres was no less impressive. We had a table right at the front of the restaurant, looking over to the Eiffel Tower, that sparkled 9 times during our 3-hour tasting menu (my mum counted). The food really was delicious, the view spectacular and the evening extremely enjoyable.

What I'm saying is that everything is relative, some people live in a whirlwind, some in a calm breeze, but wherever you live it is important to appreciate your life for what it is, because so many people are so much worse off than you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


My head is swimming, sinuses are throbbing and I have one nostril blocked. Lovely. In fact I'm fine, just suffering from a bout of the common cold, but if you believed the French I'm dealing not with a simple virus that I caught from some other poor sufferer, but the after-effects of going out without a scarf in less than 30°C heat, perhaps not closing the window at the slightest breeze, or worse still, having an open-buttoned shirt before June 21st.

Also, this mere hiccough in my otherwise perfect health is not even called a cold, more often than not they call it a "rhino-pharyngite" which sounds much worse.

Anyway, I'm fine, just a little more tired than usual and a little more nasal than usual, but nothing a nice sunny weekend won't cure.

The sun has been getting out his hat and popping it on for the last few days now, and today is no exception. I'm in Chablis, typing away on my keyboard with the sun shining down on the little river outside my window. I have to say that it's very peaceful.

My parents, aunt and uncle are descending on Paris this weekend, and I'm looking forward to seeing them. It'll be nice for them to have a touristy weekend that doesn't revolve around purely visiting me. I've booked a great restaurant for Saturday evening with a wonderful glass ceiling and stunning view of the iron lady herself. Apparently her lighting has been redesigned temporarily and now she doesn't sparkle only on the hour, but responds to a specific programme that has been designed for her, from now until early May apparently.

So, I'm hoping to be snot-free by Saturday evening so that I can actually taste some of the goodies that will placed in front of me.

Achoo! Sorry, just have a to go and get a tissue...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Unexpected Song II

When my friend M put a video up on facebook of some woman singing "I Dreamed a Dream", I thought it would be like any other amazing new talent, belting out the "sha-a-a-a-me" with a neverending diphthong in true Ruthie Henshall style. And yes, of course all the shiny new talents are good, but it gets depressing after a while.
So I clicked on the video expecting to just reply "oh yes, great". Then I saw this frumpy woman totter onto the stage and I thought it must be some kind of joke, that she would be really bad. The cruel wicked side of us all that enjoys seeing people in pain reared its head, and I sat through the introductory blah blah and waited for those first bars to come.
What I heard coming from that woman was a million miles from the bumpkin Scottish accent and neglected eyebrow combover that my eyes were deceiving me with. Her voice was magical, and not just taking her look into account, her voice was truly sensational. She could have been dressed in a full skirt and lace-up corset with an ashen face and dirty fingernails and passed for a very credible Fantine on any stage in the world. Admittedly I had to struggle to see past the eyebrows, but that voice really was unbelievable.

I wonder if I would have been so bowled over if she had been a younger, more attractive woman, with shaped eyebrows and flowing hair? I think not. I think I was so impressed because she looked like any other menopausal woman who helps out at her local church. And I'm truly ashamed of my reaction. Let's hope from now on that competitions like Britain's Got Talent really do root out the talent, and are not simply a showcase of blonde locks and bronze muscles.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Unexpected Song

I was just shamed into reacting like everyone else when this video came to my attention today from the lovely M.

Please, just watch a few seconds and don't judge by appearances.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sunny days in the country

I can't believe it's been over a month since I wrote anything of even minor interest on here. I've been following the lovely Lola on her footpath to love, working, to-ing and fro-ing to the country and I have been mightily neglecting my cyber-diary.

Perhaps this is because things are happening that I don't want to broadcast just yet, but also that to be honest, there really isn't a great deal to broadcast.

I'm doing the Paris - Chablis forward / back thing every week now, and when I get on the train on a Wednesday evening at Bercy station I'm realising that it's easier and easier as time goes by. Life in the village is so different from life in the city, especially the cultural hub and hotbed of romanticism and activity that is Paris. Still, it's actually starting to be enjoyable to get away from it all for two days a week and ensconce myself in the upstairs office at the domain, hiding away from the hustle and bustle of city living and adding a few more weeks to my life expectancy by avoiding the omnipresent fumes typical of a working day in the city of lights.

And to add a rather juicy cherry to the cake, yesterday evening G and I actually went to someone's house in the village for a drink! I was disproportionately excited by the prospect of going out for the evening in Chablis, as it is such a rare occurence. The lovely man who painted our house here bumped into G in the street yesterday and asked us over for an apéritif.

I had one of the best evenings I've had in a long time, meeting new people and putting the world to rights as the French love to do with their hearty debates. To add another dash of surprise there was an English guy there too! I couldn't have imagined that there would be another English person of about my age in such a small secluded village. Anyway, it also turns out that there's yet another English person here too, a girl of about my age who loves to sing! Not that I necessarily favour English company over French, but it is a comfort to know that there are fellow citizens around who have made a life for themselves here. If they can do it, so can I!

I came back home feeling really optimistic and readier than I have ever felt to abandon my beloved Paris existence and try out life in the countryside. For the moment nothing is changing, but if events shape themselves differently, it wouldn't be as hard as I had thought to leave my monthly métro pass on the shelf and reach for my wax jacket and wellies!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

25 Things

The lovely Lola recently posted her "25 things" from Facebook, a list of sometimes lesser known facts about herself. This has been doing the rounds on the world's favourite internet community site, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon as usual and post mine too:

1. I love changing my hair, sometimes curly, sometimes straight. I always get bored with whatever style I keep for too long. It's naturally straight.

2. I hate pets, and dogs in particular. Even 'nice' dogs, yes, even your nice dog.

3. I live a double life - in a renovated pigeon loft in Chablis and a flat in Paris, half the week in one place half the week in the other. No, I haven't moved to Chablis forever yet.

4. My man makes the best wine on the planet.

5. Last year I visited 6 different countries.

6. I try to be ecological at home, but sometimes it doesn't make any difference (see n°5).

7. As I grow up, I'm trying to calm down and do less.

8. I have sung weekly in some sort of geeky choir for the last 21 years of my life.

9. I sang in a rock band for 3 years.

10. I have never, ever, considered myself as a 'cool' person. Quite the opposite.

11. The credit crunch is starting to hit me.

12. I want to have two or three children, one day.

13. I'm scared of balloons, especially a children + dog balloon scenario. Worst nightmare.

14. I'm far too sensitive and get upset about things I have no control over.

15. I hardly ever do email chain forwards or quizzes like this, but here's an exception.

16. I cry easily (adverts, national anthems, people winning races, young children reading, babies smiling, professional problems, singing songs)

17. I think about the future on a daily, if not hourly basis and project myself 5, 10 years into the future. I've always done it, it never works out like you think it will, and it's absolutely useless.

18. I have extended eyelashes thanks to a wonderful spa in Hong Kong.

19. I am practically bilingual in French but still can't remember what is 'le' and what is 'la'.

20. I cry with laughter at Bill Bryson, Stephen Fry and Victoria Wood.

21. I hate paperwork and procedures with a great passion, and love teaching with an equally great passion.

22. I am a qualified SCUBA diver.

23. My favourite food is truffle, the mushroom kind, but I can't afford to eat it more than a couple of times a year.

24. I played the violin and saxophone at school, with great gusto, but now can't tell one end of an instrument from the other.

25. I can't go for a day without checking my Facebook page.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tour Eiffel

Just a very short post to say read the lovely Lola's blog because it's fabulous.

Also, I'm rather excited because very soon my lovely G is whisking me off to the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower for my birthday (it was last week). The restaurant has great reviews on Trip Advisor, and I'm very much looking forward to the view as well!

Bon appétit!